This Fall I had the great honor of reading, “Black Privilege” by Charlamage Tha God. Like many of you, the only vivid memory I have of Charlamagne is the moment he called Kanye West, “Kanye Kardashian” on The Breakfast Club during an interview. I had seen Charlamagne on MTV a few times, checked out a couple of Breakfast Club interviews, but I honestly didn’t know him.
A friend of mine suggested that I read his new book, Black Privilege because it was honest and inspiring. I knew Charlamagne to be honest, but I never thought he could be inspiring. Upon buying the book here at the Boston University bookstore, I was skeptical to see what Charlamagne had cooked up. I purchased the hardcover full priced at $25.99 and began reading. After the introduction alone, I posted the book on my Snapchat convincing my friends that this was a bonafide hit. I instantly received messages from my friends, asking me what my thoughts were and what made the book so enjoyable. I continued reading, and by chapter three I knew this was the best book I read this year.
If you follow my blog, you know I love narrative non-fiction books. I mostly read authors such as Don Miguel Ruiz, Tony Robbins or Marianne Williamson. Their books touch on spirituality and living your best life. I must say after finishing “Black Privilege” in two days, I think I can respectfully add Charlamagne to my favorite authors list.
The body of work was captivating, candid and indeed inspiring. Because I wanted to finish the book quickly and had laundry to do I bought the audiobook on iBooks to complement the physical book and zipped through the book in two days with ease. To anyone looking to read a substantial nonfiction book, I highly suggest Black Privilege as it is indeed the best book I read this year. If that doesn’t convince you enough here are some reasons why you may want to support Tha God.
Black Male Role Models
I love Barack Obama and Steve Harvey, but besides them, there aren’t too many active black male role models that don’t rap or play a sport. Of course, I appreciate Jay Z and would be honored to meet Kobe Bryant, but we all know that black men make great artists and athletes. For me, Charlamagne represents a new breed of emerging icons in the black community. He starts the book talking about his journey to get where he is now from growing up in Moncks Corner, South Carolina to being the celebrity he is today.
Charlamagne talks about the importance of reading and writing. He discusses the idea of being yourself no matter what the cost. After reading his book, it reinforced the idea that one day I could be somebody no matter where I come from. Charlamagne isn’t a rapper or an athlete he is someone who stuck to his talents and pressed to the mark until he got where he wanted. His journey is inspiring and makes him a fantastic role model for anyone looking to make it.
As a young black man, I appreciate his efforts to push a new narrative out there. I bought this hardcover book and audiobook at full price because I’m proud of the work this man is putting in.
We must support brothers doing admirable work in the world.
There is a moment in the book where both Charlamagne and his father go to prison together. The book tells stories of Charlamagne’s drug dealing days and the days of him getting fired from jobs. When someone tells their story as authentically as Charlamagne, you can’t-do anything but respect it for what it is. In Black Privilege, Charlamagne airs all his dirty laundry and does so proudly with the intention of teaching his readers. His candid take on his life inspired me to want to be more authentic in my writing.
I have never read a book this inspiring with uses of the N-word, F**k and so forth. I appreciate Charlamagne for sticking to his core self and writing words that speak to his experience. He easily could have been washed out by publishers and created a safer body of work, but he didn’t. The vocabulary in the book is funny and will keep you captivated during the entire read.
Biggest Take Away
On page 75, Charlamagne introduces the idea of accepting the hard truth. This page starts chapter three appropriately titled, “Fuck Your Dreams.”
“The truth might hurt, but it’s always helpful. Nobody wants to hear they’re fat as fuck and need to lose weight, or they’re not as talented at something as they think they are. But just because they’re lying to themselves doesn’t mean that you have to lie too.”
The chapter tells stories of times where Charlamagne kept it honest with people even when it may have hurt their egos. As a writer and also as a friend sometimes I struggle with holding people as accountable as I would like to. Charlamagne’s chapter taught the importance of keeping it real with others even if it may make them uncomfortable. The stories in that section also taught me to keep it real with myself even if it makes me unsettled. I appreciate this idea because of all the books I have read, I have never heard this lesson articulated in such a bold, profound way.
Wrapping It Up
Buy the book. Whether you’re black, white, Asian, young or old, you can get something out of the book. Dr. Brene Brown teaches that it’s hard to hate someone up close. I can say with confidence that after reading “Black Privilege,” you will be inspired and have a deeper appreciation for Charlamagne Tha God.
To purchase Black Privilege click HERE.